The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk

As Kobe Bryant once said, “There is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own.” That’s why the Learning Leader Show exists—to get together and understand the journeys of successful leaders, so that we can better understand our own. This show is full of stories told by world-class leaders. Personal stories of successes, failures, and lessons learned along the way. Our guests come from diverse backgrounds—some are best-selling authors, others are genius entrepreneurs, and one even made a million dollars wearing t-shirts for a year. My role in this endeavor is to talk to the smartest, most creative, always-learning leaders in the world so that we can learn from them as we each create our own journeys.
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The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk




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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 28, 2017


In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Liz asks... What makes a great podcast episode? A host is listens, asks good follow up questions... And a guest who understands why they've sustained excellence and can intelligently share quality stories.
  • The great leadership on her son's football team.  Selflessness, diverse... They all made sacrifices.
  • "We've noticed a shift fueled by technology
  • "It's not about having the answer, it's about helping the team find the answer."
  • How should we deal with diminishers?
  • Diminishers don't realize they lack self-awareness -- "Accidental Diminishers"
  • The 5 most prevalent strategies to people use to deal with diminishers:
    • Confront
    • Avoid
    • Quit
    • Quit and Stay
    • Ignore Dimishing behavior
  • If you are being micro-managed, don't judge or exclude -- Instead, be curious, ask why that person is a micro-manager? Think "I wonder why they need to do this?" -- This can change your mindset and create empathy for that person.  It will help you be less upset
  • "Choose to respond with curiosity.  I wonder how they got like that?" -- Be empathetic
  • Google's 5 hiring criteria for leaders: Leaders who can move in and out of leadership roles (one day they are in charge, they next day someone else is... Must be fluid)
  • Impacting cultural change -- Share common language, behavior, belief, norms, legends, heroes, rituals
  • Creating a culture of trust -- In low trust environments, people retreat and regroup.
  • The best leaders are great listeners -- FULLY PRESENT with each person they speak with.
  • "Great executives have a buffer between the stimulus and their response." -- They are measured and know when to take emotion out of their decision making process.
  • Need a container to create space and focus
  • How to create an environment where people do their best work.. 
May 24, 2017

Episode 206: Sam Walker - The Hidden Force That Creates The World's Greatest Teams: Captains

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  • The 7 Traits of Elite Captains:
    • Extreme doggedness and focus in competition, often to the point of madness
    • A tendency to play aggressively up to, and often beyond, the limits of the rules
    • A willingness to do thankless jobs in the shadow of more acclaimed teammates
    • A bias against making big speeches in favor of continuous practical communication
    • A talent for displaying their commitment and motivating teammates through aggressive nonverbal means
    • An unwavering commitment to defend their principles and speak truth to power
    • The presence of a "kill switch" for shutting off emotion when it's not useful
  • Studying the moment when teams went from good to great
  • Why LeBron James is a unicorn
    • "His model of leadership is completely new."
  • Relation to the business world -- Some of the greatest leaders don't think they deserve the title (job title or to be captain) -- Tim Duncan & Yogi Berra
  • The rituals of Tim Duncan
    • Short conversations with each teammate
    • Great facial expressions
    • Effective messaging
    • Never giving big speeches
  • How to be a charismatic connector like Tim Duncan
  • Great captains (and leaders) are not "yes men." They defend their principles and speak truth to power
  • Jack Lambert purposely left blood on his jersey as a message to his team -- Great captains have a talent for displaying their commitment and motivating teammates through aggressive nonverbal means
  • The ability to develop "emotional maturity." A measured approach
    • As Liz Wiseman said "Great leaders have a buffer between the stimulus and their response"
  • They are able to build resilience

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 071: Nate Boyer - Green Beret, Texas Football, The NFL

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence - The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

The Learning Leader Show is supported by Rhone.  Use the code "Hawk" for 15% off.  Rhone... premium activewear engineered with principle, performance and progress for the modern man.  Rhone builds clothing around 3 main tenants: Cutting-edge Performance, Premium Comfort, and Simplistic Style.


May 21, 2017
  • Go To For more information on DHH and this episode
  • Common themes of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • "For me it's falling in love with the work itself..."
    • Being excited to do the actual work everyday... The actual day to day work
  • "I don't have a need to think "What's Next?" -- "I'm thrilled to do the thing I've fallen in love with."
  • How did he become DHH?
  • What percentage of your job do you love and what percent do you dislike?
    • DHH works to minimize the parts he doesn't like
    • Managing others is low on his list of what he loves.
  • "The thought that you can't be innovative if you aren't in the same room is bullshit." -- You can do that remotely, in fact better in most cases.
  • DHH shares why the open office concept is horrible for creative people who like to "get shit done."
  • Remote work gives peace, tranquility, quality
  • Commuting to work can be a wasteful, drain on your life
  • The future of work -- More remote work, more contractors, less full time employees
  • "The office is something you choose to have, you don't need to have it."
  • "The Day I Became A Millionaire"
    • What DHH learned that day... What changed? What didn't
    • "The things that brought happiness were the things I was already doing. I love writing, programming, reading."
    • Will a certain amount of money ever be enough? Ray Kroc said "No."
  • "The human condition does not end because you get rich."  You'll still have problems.
  • Best advice to give to people early in their careers?
    • "Be careful what you wish for.  Managing other people is not in my top 5 things I like to do."
    • "Prove you can execute.  That's the way to get to the executive level. Just simply make shit happen, you get shit done."
    • You have to weigh shipping vs quality
    • Take measured risks, and don't be afraid to make mistakes


 David "DHH" Heinemeier Hansson is the creator of Ruby on Rails, founder & CTO at Basecamp(formerly 37signals), best-selling author, Le Mans class-winning racing driver, public speaker, hobbyist photographer, and family man. He is the best selling author of ReWork and Remote: Office Note Required.  You can also read his wildly popular writings on

May 14, 2017

Episode 204: Dr. Tasha Eurich - How To Become More Self-Aware

  • Common themes of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Self Awareness - "I scientifically studied this."
    • "People who work on their Self-Awareness are happier, get more promotions, and lead better lives"
  • It's become a national sport to point out that someone is self-aware -- "I wanted to do the research behind this to truly learn about it"
  • 95% of people think they're self aware -- But only 10%-15% are actually self aware
  • It's vitally important to regularly question your assumptions to become more aware
    • Don't wait for a life event or someone else to tell you to do this. You must work on it daily.  The gains will be incremental (The Compound Effect)
  • "We cannot own other people's journeys, we must own ours."
    • You will work with people who lack awareness. Don't put it on yourself to fix it.
  • Tasha previously worked within a company in the "Wendy Rhoades" role from Billions
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- Her boss -- Picture a "laugh track" behind what someone says to help deal with their lack of awareness
  • Practical ways leaders build self-aware teams and organizations
    • Alan Mulally story of how he gained self-awareness despite starting with very little of it
    • "It shows that anyone can become self-aware"
  • A great leader goes out of their way to build a culture where people can tell the truth."
  • It's vital that the leader is vulnerable -- shares weaknesses and mistakes made
  • Implementing a Business Process Review on a weekly basis
    • Doing this at home with family as well -- Every Sunday, each family member provides updates
  • The Speed of Trust -- Why everything is much faster when built upon the foundation of trust
    • Pixar is the model of Trust.  Ed Catmull shares how they built this.  No leaks to the press.
  • The "Selfie Syndrome" -- "There is a direct impact on social media & narcissism"
    • "Resist the pull of the cult of self"
  • How to promote your own work you're proud of without becoming a self-promoter? -- It's about the work and positively impacting people.
  • Mindfulness practice = Doesn't always have to involve meditation.
    • "Actively noticing the present"
  • Continue Learning:

May 7, 2017

Common themes of leaders who sustain excellence:

  • They know why they’re there
  • “They always have their eye on the why”
  • “They think about success often”
  • They understand their strengths and weaknesses
  • “Surround yourself with people who compliment your strengths/weaknesses”
  • How did Todd make a quick ascent to CEO?
    • There must be an opportunity and then you “must go like hell when that happens”
    • “I love the outcome, I love the impact we have”
    • “When coming up through the company, I always kept an eye on the overall strategy”
    • “Don’t focus on getting credit for the project.”
    • “Make sure your personal goals and company goals are aligned.”
  • How he does two separate CEO roles? — “Must surround yourself with people you trust”
    • “A strong WE”
  • Calendar/Time Management
    • All meetings are 15 minutes in length — This forces people to get to the point immediately
    • Week unfolds:
      • Front load all staff meetings by 1:00 Monday. Must be done by Monday afternoon — “What are the goals for the week?”
      • Having a chief of staff is important
      • Todd is an introvert and does not do back to back meetings all day.  Needs 30 minutes breaks every 3 meetings to think
      • “You said an important word… And that word is THINK”
  • “As a manager you are responsible for the success of people.” — Management means you have a responsibility for them
    • Must give feedback.  Feedback is a gift.  It’s generous to give feedback.
  • “There’s nothing easier than sharing credit.”
  • “Management is around understanding the differences in people, and getting the best out of them”
  • “Leadership is about painting a vision”
    • Lead with trust
    • Todd’s story of his first client engagement – FAILED… How his boss responded with trust was powerful — “I trust you”
  • When managing through a crisis… BE:
    • Clear
    • Calm
    • Credible
  • How sketch comedy can help you be a better leader
    • Bring your whole self to your job
    • Build emotional intelligence
  • Paying employees to take a class that has nothing to do with work (Learn a second language, guitar lessons, etc)
  • Hiring process:
    • “What are the first 5 things you read everyday?” — “Okay, now tell me the real answer. I want to learn about you, not what you think I want to hear”
      • “I want to hear them defend or support an argument.  It doesn’t matter what it’s about
  • Books to read: The Enders Game — Incredible story about getting the best out of people and creating teams
  • To be a Learning Leader? — “A process of building.  It’s a thing you do.”
    • “Time is a really expensive leader.” “Must always evolve and pick up lessons”